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His challengers in this year’s Democratic primary — Sekou Biddle, E. Gail Anderson Holness and Peter Shapiro — are capitalizing on the Thompson situation while pitching their own selling points.
Mr. Biddle served as an interim council member for three months before losing the seat last April to Mr. Orange.

Mr. Shapiro lives in Chevy Chase and served on the Prince George’s County Council from 1998 to 2004. The experience is a political blessing and curse, as he touts his legislative experience while his opponents label him a carpetbagger.

Mr. Shapiro notes that he has lived in the city for about half his life and sees his nascent foray into D.C. politics as a boon.

“If you want a break from the past, I’m the only one who is a break from the past,” Mr. Shapiro said.
Ms. Holness, a longtime educator, says her network of support is much bigger than anyone realizes.
“I think it’s going to work out in my favor,” Ms. Holness said. “They’ll go after each other, and I’ll just have my base.”

Ms. Holness is also quick to note that her campaign has not taken any corporate donations.
“I’m not going to buy my votes,” she said.

Last year, Mr. Biddle’s support from the likes of Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Kwame R. Brown became a liability when the powerful pair at the time faced scrutiny over ethics issues. This time, Mr. Biddle, a former member of the D.C. State Board of Education who presided over a task force on truancy during his brief stint on the council, has collected key support from The Washington Post’s editorial board and council member David A. Catania, at-large independent.

“Most of my effort really is about making a case for myself,” he said. “I feel like you have to make the sale on your own merits.”

Ward 7

If the at-large race serves as a gauge of voters’ feelings about the campaign-finance scandal, the Ward 7 race could illustrate their feelings about the mayor, whose first term has been hobbled by ethics inquiries.

Ms. Alexander, who replaced Mr. Gray as council member from Ward 7, remains one of the mayor’s most staunch allies on the council. But she has suffered from reports, including several in The Washington Times, that questioned spending from her constituent services fund and the ties between her staff and the corporate interests of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as it prepares to build two stores in her ward.

She is quick to outline the economic growth along Minnesota Avenue and initiatives such as EduCare’s state-of-the-art early-childhood education facility in Parkside.

“These are things that were put in place during my term,” Ms. Alexander said. “And I have to stay to make sure they keep moving forward.”

Ms. Alexander has to contend with four Democratic challengers who have been blunt in their criticism of her as an ineffective council member who does not have a proven track record of accomplishments despite nearly five years of service.

“I hear people calling for a change in the leadership, especially in Ward 7,” said challenger William “Rev. Bill” Bennett II, a Deanwood resident and pastor at Good Success Christian Church.

“I can count on one hand how many times you voted against the mayor,” challenger Kevin B. Chavous, the son of former Ward 7 council member Kevin P. Chavous, told Ms. Alexander at a March 26 debate hosted by the Washington City Paper. “You don’t represent real people. You do whatever’s being told to you.”

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